Follow Me

…And splattered along the lockers. The next blow connected with Carter's abdomen, sinking him to the floor, breathless. The small blade he wielded dropped out of his hand, skittering down the hall. Blood pooled under his temple where the bully's fist first struck him. The girl at his back looked on horrified, concerned her boyfriend might kill the younger boy during this vicious rampage.

"If I ever catch you talking to my girl again, I will end your pathetic little life." His boot stomped down on the bloodied boy's back, prompting a squeal from Carter, who was too beaten to defend himself anymore. Emily hunched over with a hand covering her mouth, profusely disgusted by the barbaric scene.

"That's enough, Jason!" she cried, running over to wrench the brute away by his arm. The savage merely shoved the girl aside.

"Just... stay in your place, wimp, and I wouldn't have to punish you like this." Carter's head was so damaged that the tyrant's taunting failed to even register. He was beginning to blackout from bloodloss.

With the predator satisfied his prey had suffered sufficiently for his insolence, he spit on the broken body and left his victim bleeding on the hallway floor. Grabbing his possession by the wrist, he forcibly dragged her away like a disobedient dog by its leash.

Once the couple departed, quiet overtook the empty school. Suffocating silence harshly emphasized how alone he was, in pieces on the floor. The boy struggled to stay alert. Only the ghostly-light strokes of a hand grazing his cheek kept him responsive. He dismissed the touch as a throbbing ache, and tried his best to ignore the agony of breathing.

His battered brain was determined to assess his situation. His body was too abused to make it home by himself. There was no one around to assist him, and his mother would be out late, ironically working as a nurse. She would be gone all night and not even notice him missing until morning. Maybe he would get lucky and a janitor would discover his remains before the concussion finished the job Jason had started.

How humiliating would it be to be found still lying here when school started the next day? His mind chewed on terrifying visuals as his eyelids drooped due to the concussion. That is, until an unmistakable moisture kissed torn flesh where the blood leaked from.

Gasping at the unexpected contact, he craned his neck up as far as his bruised body allowed. Sure enough, he found someone looming over his head, looking down at him. His initial thought was of an angel sent to carry him to heaven. The following was of her, returning after escaping from that psychopath to cry over his wounds.

Of course he had been trying to score a date with her. He had been infatuated with the lovely Emily Phillips since she transferred to this school a few months ago. Since that day, he rarely went a class period without her image invading his thoughts.

He had been fortunate to catch her alone at her locker loading her belongings into her backpack after school. Since they already had a few mutual friends, he assumed it only natural to introduce himself. Not one with much confidence however, he was hesitant to attract her full attention.

The revealing cheerleading outfit she wore after practice made it very difficult not to stare like a creep. Taking advantage of going unnoticed, he silently admired her beauty from behind. The shortness of her skirt gave him an ample eyeful of the long, toned, creamy legs underneath. As he envisioned what it might feel like to rub against them, her copper-colored curls whirled around, and judgemental jade irises fell upon him.

Caught giving her an awkward face, he fought the urge to turn tail and run. Instead, he shyly removed a hand from his pocket and gave a timid wave. Her striking eyes lit up in recognition in an instant, gleaming with delight at the sight of him.

With an air of familiarity, she had asked, "Hey! It's Carter, right?" It had taken his breath away to find out that the most gorgeous girl in school knew of a loser like him. He was so astounded, he nearly forgot to nod. "I thought so. I've seen you hanging around some of my buds at lunch. They say you're a really cool guy." He had blushed at this, and wondered if this wondrous moment was real or just another fantasy fabricated by his wishful mind.

After talking long enough to lose track of time, the connection they shared became undeniable to him. The amount of common interests they held startled the boy. He knew it was very rare for any girl to be a fan of drag races, or comics, or martial arts, so it was surely destiny that they be together. However, just as he started to ask her out, the berserk boyfriend had appeared to show off his brutality.

A warm droplet plopped against his face, briefly bringing him back to reality. Out the corner of his eye, he could see the useless switchblade he brought to school for protection. It may as well have been a banana for all the good it did.

It was idiotic to believe he had any chance fighting against Jason Mueller, captain of the wrestling team. He had a gorilla's physique, and tons of practice turning much bigger opponents into pretzels. Even with the handicap of a knife, Carter was thoroughly trounced.

And despite housing a bunch of broken bones, it was the embarrassment of Emily witnessing him get pummeled like a helpless child that stung the most. Although, that might be because his body was going numb. He couldn't even feel the floor's firmness beneath him anymore, though it still hurt to breathe. He considered taking a reprieve from the agonizing action.

Another teardrop plopped against his temple, snapping him out of the reminiscent dreams. Not wishing to revisit the devastating scene itself, he instead focused on the attentive hands affectionately massaging away his aches.

Unfortunately, it soon became apparent that the wetness caressing his cheek was too heavy and rigid to be a teardrop. This revelation brought about an unnerving sense of dread. He turned his head to its limit, and found a slippery tongue darting toward his exposed eye. Greatly disturbed, the young boy shot upright and scooted backward on his hands to get from under whoever thought it acceptable to lick at his bloody wounds.

Backing far enough away to feel secure, he identified the strange figure as female, sitting curled in a ball by the lockers. She seemed no older than him, just a junior in high school, yet there was something portentously ancient and alluring about her features.

Dark, thick eyebrows, arched like inverted breve, accented her wide oval eyes. A petite square nose flared as she sighed. Underneath puckered a pair of full, ruby-red lips tilted down in contempt. Every aspect of her seemed oddly symmetrical; a perfection that looked fake on flesh, and more akin to a masterful painting come to life.

Her pale, alabaster skin looked aglow, sharp and shimmering in front of him. It was a clear contrast to the coal-colored hair that flowed smoothly like silk waves down to her navel. This was easy enough to determine, as she wore nothing but a colorful bra; the lively green and pink star designs sparkled and danced across black cloth.

He could not confirm if her bottoms matched her top, as the mystery girl's lower half remained draped in darkness. Bizarre, as there was plenty of light in the school to illuminate where she sat. Before he could ponder this fact properly, the strange girl spoke, distracting him from the curious anomaly.

"Idiot!" His eyes snapped from her breasts to her face at the shout. "I haven't finished my meal. Your face still has plenty of blood to spare." He hardly heard her, because enthralling eyes now held his full consideration. Inhuman orange orbs, similar to an owl's, analyzed his every action. They made her far more intimidating than her slender frame would ever allude.

He felt them penetrate his mind and leak out every iota of thought and willpower from his head. Even as his brain shut down, his subconscious recognized the greater intelligence lurking behind those electrifying eyes. Mesmerized, he failed to notice she was sitting close enough to bump his cheek with her lips.

"Hold still! Let me alleviate your pain." Her tone switched from vinegar to honey in a single breath. Easing his torso back to the floor with the tips of her fingers pressing into his chest, the slender girl mounted him, and proceeded to lap at his splintered skull like a kitten with its head in a bowl of cream.

The feeling of her tongue sliding against his skin broke him free of her hypnotic spell. His gaze fell from glowing golden eyes to mushy red lips where a long emerald snake protruded an abnormal length from her mouth. It slithered serpent-like from his ear to his eye.

"Get that thing off of me!" He shrieked in panic, and pushed her away before scrambling to his feet. She was shouting at his back as he scampered through the empty hallways toward the exit. Refusing to look back, he could not quite convince himself that the hungry shadows pursuing him were only imaginary.

Once he was a safe distance away, the fog clouding his mind began to dissipate. Only after his hand seized the exit door's handle did he realize all of his injuries from earlier had vanished, leaving no pain or soreness.

"Where are you scuttling off to, boy?" The darkness returned with her reappearance, consuming them both. Not surprised to find her right behind him, he surrendered his hold on the handle as well as his fate, and turned to face this mystery girl. But the darkness had receded, and she was gone.

Confused and anxious, he backed into the doorway, only to fall straight into her clutches. Strong arms wrapped around his waist, pinning his own to his sides and successfully restraining any more movement. "I told you, I have a snack to finish!"

Her words struck a vein of fear. His heart attempted to climb out of his throat as he struggled in vain against her grip. Even with muscles fueled by adrenaline, he could not break free.

The green tongue made contact again. Just the thought of being violated by the slimy tendril made his spine tingle and teeth itch. His fruitless attempts at freedom grew more desperate, and he bellowed for help, hoping anyone remaining in the school would come to his rescue.

There was a pinch at his neck, and his screams fell mute. Miraculously, all of his worries spilled away like water from a dam. Once the anxiety evaporated, a new sense of euphoria filled him. He lolled backward into her embrace, melting out of reality while she slurped gleefully on the last splatters of blood with a sickening smack. Satisfied, she lifted the limp body over her shoulder with ease, and carried him into a nearby classroom.

"Submitting to pleasure is far simpler than struggling in agony, agreed?" The classroom was empty, dark, and to his inhibited mind, foreign and foreboding. Gently, she lowered him onto his back beside a teacher's desk. Propping herself atop one of the student tables, she examined his lazy-eyed grin with a sinister smirk of her own.

He nodded his agreement, feeling too carefree to answer her truthfully. "Relax. That feeling should fade momentarily. And afterward, we will discuss what comes next."

She waited, her eyes stalking his expressions, staring at him without so much as a blink for what felt like an eternity. But soon enough, true to her word, the effects of his sedation began to wear off. Another five minutes ticked away. Sweat formed above his brow as he willed himself to return her unsettling gaze. Five minutes past that, paranoia set in.

Feigning boldness to mask his fear, he asked, "W-what the hell are you?" Her face lit up in amusement, and she glided down from her perch so that they were again close enough to touch noses. He flinched as a hand clasped onto his chin to hold his trembling face steady.

Her mouth opened again, and he lost the ability to breathe. His skin quivered all over, trying to escape to safety, as if it could crawl away and leave the rest of him behind.

"I am your savior, and your servant." Her hushed tone was quiet enough that he would not have heard had his internal organs been functioning. "So, you have no reason to fret." She spoke with the sincerity of a mother soothing a crying child. The words worked a warmth into his veins that her icy stare had frozen over.

Spindly fingers tangled themselves in russet locks as a thumb stroked tenderly at his ear. Her caring touch made him doubt his initial mistrust was warranted.

"A-are you going t-to eat me?" He nearly bit his tongue off getting the question through chattering teeth.

Suddenly, her neck jerked in an unnatural fashion; her head twisted sideways, once again resembling an owl. Golden eyes flared bright with rage, and a fist clenched his roots. "Stop your spineless cowering and stand, little boy!"

Her booming voice shook the building, the throes of the concussion knocking the lights dead. He screamed for mercy, pleading to be spared until the school jolted back to life.

She was gone, with not a trace of her left behind. It was as if the entire building had blinked, and she had inexplicably vanished while its eyes were closed.

Now that she was out of his immediate proximity, and the threat of death no longer bumped its nose to his, oxygen instantaneously rushed into his body, filling his lungs in a whoosh.

Seeing something move out the corner of his eye, he flinched in fright. But it was only his reflection in the aluminum desk mimicking his terrified twitching, so he relaxed. He took a brief break from his mental breakdown to examine his own petrified appearance. His disheveled hair was a long, soppy brown mop spilling down the sides of his face, soaked in sweat. His teeth were chattering, and his chestnut eyes were welling with tears.

But it was the blood that ensnared his eye and refused to let go. For what felt like hours he sat, still and speechless, staring at the scarlet stream slowly dribbling down his neck. The vital nectar oozed out a pair of tiny puncture wounds, staining his white collar a horrifying red.

His brain, beginning to function normally again, stepped in to assess the situation. He could still breathe, and so he wheezed until some of the hysteria subsided. He could still think, but every thought that came to mind was a nightmare. He could also cry, as he discovered when the tears dripped from his chin. And so he cried, and cried, and wept, and sobbed, and sniffled, until he felt relief from the burden of thinking.

He had yet to wipe away the tears drying on his cheeks, nor the snot crusting atop his lips, which brought a scary thought to mind. What if the monstrous woman had left him paralyzed? What if she returned and he was still stationary, defenseless, and even more at her mercy than before? He had to get up, to run and escape. His very life depended on it.

Sluggishly, he collected himself from off of the floor. While scanning the room for her presence, his hand swept over the chalkboard behind him to help him balance. He nearly fell on his face when his palm came into unexpected contact with fire.

Blazing in a freakish white flame were the ill-shapen words "follow me" scorched into the board, with an arrow just beneath them pointing out the door. The bizarre flames danced just as irregularly as his new tormentor seemed to be. And although something even stronger than instinct told him to steer clear of this girl, he knew her invitation could not be denied.

A light outside in the hallway flickered on and off. He considered it both a signal and an omen. With a deep inhale to help steel himself, Carter opened the classroom door and walked toward whatever fate this mystery girl had in store for him.